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Marmite panic-buying empties shelves

Monday 19 Mar 2012 5:45 p.m.

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By Hamish Clark

There's been panic-buying of Marmite in supermarkets around the country today, after the makers, Sanitarium, warned of a looming shortage.

The black yeast spread used to be made in Christchurch, but the factory there was shut down, due to earthquake damage, and now consumers are facing 'Marmageddon'.

The sticky dark brown yeast is a by product of beer brewing and its salty savoury flavour has been a Kiwi favourite for a hundred years.

For the last 70 years all the Marmite in Australasia was manufactured at the Sanitarium plant in Christchurch, but now production has been shut down.

Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden says the company brought back stock which had been shipped to Australia “in order to make sure that we can… make it last longer for Kiwis”.

The company is recommending consumers ration their Marmite until it is back in production in July.

Supermarket manager Phillip Blackburn says Marmite “will become like gold” as stocks dwindle.

“Have a look on trade me and see what they start to go for,” he says. “I’ve got half a jar at home – I might whack it on tonight.”

With a shortage looming, some consumers have been forced to consider using the Aussie imposter, Vegemite, while others are just spreading their Marmite a little bit thinner.

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